Page 10, 20th March 1936

20th March 1936
Page 10
Page 10, 20th March 1936 — MUSIC
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MUSIC

By Ernest Moss

PLAIN PLAINCHANT

1 have received the first of a series of cards of plainchant masses, etc., published by Cary, transcribed into modern notation and furnished with accompaniments. am convinced that this is the wrong way to go about the revival of the plain

chant tradition. First because the older notation, once mastered (it only takes an hour or two), is easier and less liable to misinterpretation than the modern; but chiefly because to provide accompaniments for plainchant is to transform and spoil its nature.

This is not said in a spirit of iconoclasm or purist eccentricity. Music from its earliest beginnings developed as a medium for the expression of poetry and prayer; as such it had no need for richness and completeness of form. It was in essence a lineal art, the art of scale. To provide such speech-music with accompaniment is no less combative to elementary principles than to attempt an adequate arrangement of a Wagner opera for the piano.

In fact part of the lack of delight in liturgical chant is that the ear, accustomed to the idiom of harmony, instinctively provides chords which it should not hear. It was the demands of harmony which caused the mediwvaI modes to be superseded by the modern scales.

I can think of no better way of ensuring an improvement in the musical side of the liturgy than to forbid the use of organs or harmoniums in churches for a period of. say, five years. Plainchant would then be plain.

Operatic Triumph The production of Verdi's Falstaff at Sadler's Wells last week had evidently been thought out to the last detail. It was a

triumph for operatic teamwork. The music does not sparkle like that with which Mozart points his wit, but it has a heavy-footed and elephantine quality (Verdi got it by his mastery of orchestration) peculiarly suited to the humour of the great-paunched Falstaff.

The opera is rounded off perfectly with a tripping fugue, " Life is a stage, we're on it," etc.

The stage sets and dresses at the Wells are striking and effective.

Concerts

Lucienne Delforge and Mareelle Meyer gave piano recitals last week at the Wigmore Hall. They are both of them (Continued in next column.)

(Continued from previous column.) pianists of unusual fire and spirit. Marcellc Meyer's playing of Debussy's PreludeSarabande-Toccata was particularly a delight in its hardness and brilliance.— E. M.

Robert Mayer's children concerts have been a great success this season, and the last one, given on Saturday, was the best

of all. The programme was perfect— overture to Figaro of Mozart, Elgar's Enigma Variations, Debussy's " L'apresmidi d'un faune," and Strauss's " Till Fulenspiegel." The London Philharmonic Orchestra was at the top of its form, and the whole performance was magnificent.




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